British runaway found in Bordeaux, teacher detained
A 15-year-old British schoolgirl who ran away with her maths teacher last week was found in Bordeaux on Friday, more than a week after disappearing from her home in southeast England. Her teacher has been detained by police.
Missing British teenager Megan Stammers was discovered in the southwest city of Bordeaux on Friday, more than a week after eloping with her 30-year-old maths teacher, Jeremy Forrest, who was detained by police.
"The couple were found on a public street in the centre of Bordeaux," a spokesman told AFP news agency, adding that Stammers was "in good health".
Forrest was later seen leaving the police station on Friday evening in an unmarked police car. He was hidden from view by officers and the vehicle left for an unknown destination, accompanied by two escort cars.
A source close to the investigation said Stammers would be handed over to the British consulate in Bordeaux "as early as Friday evening or Saturday."
Prosecutors emphasised that French police were not investigating the case but simply carrying out an international arrest warrant issued by British authorities.
The pair disappeared from Sussex last Thursday, when they took a ferry from Dover to Calais and failed to return. British authorities were put on alert on last Friday after Stammers failed to show up to school.
French police had earlier said they wouldn’t launch an investigation into the girl’s disappearance because no law had been broken and she had not been reported as kidnapped by her parents. The legal age of consent in France is 15.
The school which Stammers attended and where Forrest worked was apparently first made aware that the two were in a romantic relationship eight months ago. It was reported on Tuesday that officials at the school were about to suspend the mathematics teacher the day that he and Stammers vanished.
The Evening Standard quoted a 15-year-old friend of Stammers saying she was angry the school in East Sussex had not done enough to protect the student. “She would tweet about being in love and show us his texts,” the friend was quoted as saying.
In 2009, the school was at the centre of another scandal. Teacher Robert Healy, then 27, was jailed for seven years after admitting to having sex with two schoolgirls, one 15 and one 16.
The British press also reported that Forrest and his 31-year-old wife had longstanding marital problems and police had been called to intervene in arguments.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)